MOSCOW (AP) _ Fourteen people, including acting President Vladimir Putin, have submitted candidate applications for the March 26 presidential elections, the election commission said Sunday.

Candidates had until Sunday to submit at least 500,000 signatures supporting their bid for the presidency to the Central Election Commission. They also had to submit property and income declarations.

Only two of the candidacies _ Communist Party chief Gennady Zyuganov, whom opinion polls show as Putin's strongest challenger, and Alexi Podberyozkin, of the small leftist Spirtual Heritage group _ had been approved so far, a commission spokesman said.

In the race to find a permanent successor to Boris Yeltsin, who stepped down Dec. 31, Putin is the clear favorite, with opinion polls showing him getting support of more than 50 percent of the respondents. Zyuganov has polled around 20 percent.

Others who have submitted applications to the election commission include Grigory Yavlinsky, the leader of the reformist Yabloko party, nationalist firebrand Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Yuri Skuratov, whom Yeltsin tried to fire as Russia's prosecutor-general, ITAR-Tass said Sunday.